They, She, He Easy as ABC – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: They, She, He Easy as ABC – learn the ABCs and practice inclusive pronouns!

By: Maya and Matthew

 Publisher: Reflection Press, April 2019

Ages: 3-6

Themes:  Gender Now CurriculumLGBTQtransgender, pronouns, non-binary


Ari loves to arabesque.
They hold their pose with ease.
Brody is a break dancer.
Brody loves to freeze.

Cory leaps high like a cat.
She springs and leaps and bounds.
Diego drums and dances.
Tree has all the sounds…..


They, She, He easy as ABC shows that including everyone is all part of the dance. It’s easy. It’s fundamental. As the dance begins the kids proclaim, “No one left out and everyone free,” in a sing-song rhyme about inclusion. This sets the stage for readers to meet 26 kids showing us their dance moves.

Fast-paced rhyming keeps the flow of text upbeat and rhythmic, and naturally models how to use a wide range of pronouns. There’s no room for stereotypes on THIS dance floor with spirited imagery that keeps names, clothes, hair and behavior fresh and diverse. The combination creates a playful and effortless practice to expand ideas about gender while learning the alphabet and makes being inclusive as easy as A-B-C.

Why I like this book:

Inclusive pronouns are learned alongside the alphabet in this joyously illustrated take on the classic ABC book. I love the idea of starting really young to introduce the variety of pronoun options children have to present their gender identity.

I learned a new one, Tree – a playful pronoun showing our connection to nature.


M+M have a companion book called, They He She Me: Free to Be

More games and activities can be found at and

There’s a very helpful simple explanation of all the pronouns used at the end of the book.

Reflection Press focus a big part of our work on children–children of color, transgender kids, gender diverse & non-binary kids,…..all kids.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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Author Interview – Sandy Stark-McGinnis

I met Sandy during the SCBWI Nevada 2012 Mentorship program, and we bonded instantly although at the time we were writing for different age groups. We became crit partners and I can honestly say that I believe Sandy’s Middle Grade debut is masterful and beautiful and I believe she has a long career before her as a children’s author. Please check out last week’s review of Extraordinary Birds here, if you haven’t red it yet.

[JM] Where are you from and how has that influenced your writing career?

[SSM] I’m from Hughson, a small, rural town in the middle of California’s San Joaquin Valley. I think growing up in a place like Hughson trained me to find inspiration instead of waiting for it. The pace of life was slower, so I think that played a part in allowing space for imagination and also a chance to notice details. 

 [JM] Tell us about your book, EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS! Pretend we’re in an elevator and instead of us all looking around nervously, you tell us all about what you wrote! Go!

[SSM] December Lee Morgan is an eleven-year-old girl who tells herself the scar on her back are where wings once unfolded. When’s she placed with a new foster mom, Eleanor, who works at a wildlife refuge, December begins to trust enough to accept the truth of her past. 

 [JM] How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always been into?

[SSM] Actually, I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was in high school. I majored in film studies in college and became interested in screenwriting. And, I started to read—I wasn’t a reader until my college years. The fascination with telling a story and using words, as opposed to images, led me to writing poetry. Through writing poetry, I fell in love with language, setting and character, and I wanted to explore these elements in a deeper way so I started to write prose. 


[SSM] The main inspiration came from a newspaper article I read, reporting an incident where a mother, in a methamphetamine rage, physically attacked her young daughter. After reading the article, I wondered how the young girl would be able to survive, emotionally and physically. How would she endure and find a place to heal? 

 [JM] If you like [fill in the blank], you’ll like EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS….?? ONE FOR THE MURPHYS 


 [JM] How Important has SCBWI been in your writing journey?

[SSM] Oh, the people you meet! I was part of the Nevada SCBWI Mentor program where I met some incredible writers and friends. It’s important to have people to turn to when you’re on the writing journey. Having their support, guidance and wisdom is irreplaceable. 

[JM] What artwork do you have hanging in your home?

[SSM] Well, right now I’m staring at an artwork of my maternal grandfather’s barn—he owned and operated a small dairy outside of Hughson. Other artwork are sketches of fish drawn by my father-in-law, and a willow tree made from wire that hangs in our kitchen.  

[JM] What’s your favorite park (state/urban..) in the world? 

[SSM] I think the park that most amazed me was Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Incredible!

[JM] Cats or dogs? 

[SSM] It used to be dogs, but when we moved into our house we inherited a cat and she’s pretty cool. I would have to say she’s turned me into a cat person. 


[JM] Please recommend a coffee shop or restaurant for me to visit in your city/town!

[SSM] Moss Rose Bakery. It’s been in our town for eighty years. It has amazing cinnamon rolls, breads, etc. 

[JM] Next time we meet, it’s my turn to come to you (and I can meet baby!) What was your first paid job out of high school?

[SSM] ?I was a swim instructor and lifeguard. 

[JM] Go to snack/drink to sustain your creative juices?

[SSM] Definitely coffee, and cookies (preferably sugar cookies from Moss Rose Bakery).

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PLAYDATE – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Playdate

Author: Maryann Macdonald

Illustrator: Rahele Jomepour Bell

 Publisher: Albert Whitman and Co, 2019

Ages: 1-3,

24 pages

Themes: play date, rhyme, common words





A picture book with minimal text and maximum impact, as portrayed through both the well-chosen words and the fun-filled, evocative illustrations.

Why I like this book:

Charming, rhythmic one syllable rhymes about friendship, fun and games at home and in the park. Maryann’s simple text makes a wonderful read-aloud (on repeat loop!) And Rahele’s illustrations enthuse every page with vibrant, diverse kids enjoying daily romps. I hope this comes out in board book format too.

I have reviewed a Middle Grade historical novel by Maryann and had the privilege of interviewing Rahele a few years back as she was setting out on her illustration career. It is always a pleasure to review stellar creations by kidlit friends.


This is a vocabulary rich text for young children and physical responses and pointing will naturally ensue.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Posted in board books, Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tagged , , | 9 Comments